Genome Sciences Seminars

Each year, the UW Department of Genome Sciences brings the world’s leading researchers from a broad spectrum of scientific areas to campus to discuss latest advances in genetics, genomics, proteomics, computational research and related emerging tools and technologies

All Genome Sciences Seminars take place at 3:30 on Wednesdays in Foege Auditorium unless otherwise noted.
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Please follow this link for a listing of past seminars.



Autumn 2016

September 28 - Dr. Angela DePace
Harvard University
"Integrating regulatory information away from equilibrium"




Transcription is orchestrated by multiple types of regulatory proteins binding to DNA, but we do not yet understand how such binding events are integrated to give rise to specific gene expression patterns. Theoretical models of transcription can play a key role in deciphering how binding events are integrated by making our assumptions explicit and defining the limits of those assumptions. The dominant theoretical models for transcription rely on a profound simplifying assumption, that the regulatory process is well-approximated at thermodynamic equilibrium, despite the critical role of many processes that expend energy, such as chromatin modification and remodeling. I will discuss two collaborative theoretical projects my group has undertaken in which we explored alternatives to the equilibrium framework.

First, we have considered how transcription factors (TFs) could act together to regulate the transcription cycle. Using a simple kinetic model, we show that it is theoretically possible to implement a wide range of Boolean and analog computations, including regulation through frequency modulation. These results emphasize the importance of deciphering TF function beyond “activation” and “repression” and the information processing role of the promoter.  They also provide qualitative explanations for flexible regulatory evolution.

Second, we have conducted an in-depth case study of a canonical Drosophila developmental enhancer, Hunchback P2, which is thought to be regulated by cooperative binding of the transcriptional activator Bicoid to produce a sharp gene expression pattern at the mid-line of the blastoderm embryo. Inspired by this example, we developed a general model of regulation by a single activating TF, and defined how this system can produce sharp patterns at and away from equilibrium. At equilibrium, we included pair-wise and higher order cooperativities between bound TFs, and found that to produce the sharp pattern observed in vivo, pair-wise cooperativity alone is insufficient and extreme higher-order cooperativities are required. Away from equilibrium, sharp patterns are much more easily achieved. These results emphasize that new experimental techniques are needed to measure higher-order cooperativities and the role of energy dissipation in transcriptional control.


October 5 - Dr. Alice Berger
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
"High-Throughput Phenotyping of Somatic Mutations for Cancer Precision Medicine"



October 12 - Dr. Michael Lin
Stanford University




October 19 - Dr. Marian Walhout
University of Massachusetts Medical School

October 26 - Dr. Anne Goriely
University of Oxford

November 2 - Dr. Hao Kueh
University of Washington

November 9 - Dr. Fiona Brinkman
Simon Fraser University

November 16 - Dr. José Dinneny
Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University
host: Christine Queitsch

November 30 - Dr. Irene Chen
UC Santa Barbara

December 7 - Dr. Michael Elowitz
Cal Tech
student-invited speaker


12/14 reservation given up for Genome 361 final


Winter 2017

January 4 - Dr. Sergei Doulatov
University of Washington

January 11 - Dr. Pedro Beltrao
European Bioinformatics Institute

January 18 - Dr. Garry Nolan
Stanford University

January 25 - Dr. Alice Ting
Stanford University

February 1- Dr. Nuno Bandeira
UC San Diego

February 8 - Dr. Tuuli Lappalainen
New York Genome Center

February 15 - Dr. David Savage
UC Berkeley

February 22 - Dr. Joshua Denny
Vanderbilt University

March 1 - Dr. Laura Landweber
Columbia University

March 8 - Dr. Leonid Mirny


Spring 2017

March 29 - Dr. Gurol Suel
UC San Diego

April 5 - Dr. Joseph DiRisi
UC San Francisco

April 12 - Dr. Ting Wu
Harvard University

April 19 - Dr. Tony Papenfuss
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Monday, April 24 - Dr. Jennifer Doudna
UC Berkeley
1:00, Foege Auditorium
WiGS hosted speaker

May 3 - Dr. Timothy Donohue
University of Wisconsin

May 10 - Dr. Konstantin Khrapko
Northeastern University

May 17 - Dr. Stanislav Shvartsman
Princeton University
"Quantitative biology of developmental abnormalities"
host: Celeste Berg

May 24 - Dr. Brian Chait
The Rockefeller University

May 31 - Dr. Orjan Carlborg
Uppsala University
host: Christine Queitsch


Autumn 2017

September 27 - Dr. Joshua Rabinowitz
Princeton University

October 4 -

October 11 -

October 18 - Dr. Lea Goentoro
Cal Tech

October 25 -

November 1 -

November 8 -

November 15 - Dr. Agata Smogorzewska
The Rockefeller University

November 29 -

December 6 -


Winter 2018

January 3 -

January 10 -

January 17 -

January 24 -

January 31 -

February 7 -

February 14 -

February 21 -

February 28 -

March 7 -


Spring 2018

March 28 -

April 4 -

April 11 -

April 18 -

April 25 -

May 2 -

May 9 -

May 16 -

May 23 -

May 30 -